The purpose of this unusually named series is to focus on some events in the life of the Judah after the Persian Empire come to power and the people of Judah return home to the land of Judea. As we make our way through the Scriptures which are related to these times we need to, at times, focus on history and geography however, in doing so, we recognise that all history the story of God interacting with his people. Through the series we will consider sections from the historical texts of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther and the prophetic texts of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
Part 1 - God Moves Empires For His People
The Lord moves a whole Empire to make sure that it is possible for His people to come home from Babylon. No matter what we have done God cares for us and He will fulfil all His promises as He brings us back from the homeward journey.
Part 2 - You Are Named
This chapter just seems to be a list of names – it is not. The naming of all the people who returned is a reminder that God cares for His people no matter what situation we are in, because we are always named.
Part 3 - Post Spiritual High Syndrome
We all have times in life when we have had a spiritual high. Invariably the high is followed by challenges that lead to frustration and frustration that leads to distraction. This distraction can lead us away from serving God in full strength. That is the definition of Post-Spiritual High Syndrome.
Part 4 - God Is With You Always
When we fall into a rut, or feel that our efforts are not worth God’s attention, God comes alongside as and reminds us that He is with us. Which means we shouldn’t get stuck in the moment and allow that to be the focus – we need to look beyond the moment to what God is doing.
Part 5 - Don't Despise The Small Things
We might feel small, just as the post exiles built a small temple. But when we are in the hands of God He chooses to use us as we are. Don’t be disheartened by how you think things are. Don’t despise the day of small things.
Part 6 - It's Time To Move Forward
The way we have acted in the past in our relationship with God changes as we grow and understand the purposes God has for us. We need to constantly keep our spiritual eyes open to the spiritual newness God has brought into our lives and then be open to transformation.
Part 7 - The Seventy Year Limit
We might think that the 70 years Judah spent in exile is a long time for the people to be under the anger of God. However the post exile events and interactions between God and His people demonstrates that God graciously limited His punishment to only 70 years. God is a forgiving God.
Part 8 - An Essential Banquet
Many exiles returned from Babylon, but many did not. The book of Esther teaches that God is with His people no matter where they are among the nations, and God will protect His people always. The series on banquets in the book of Esther are testimony to this truth.
Part 9 - Why Is The Wall Important?
Nehemiah wants to make the building of the Jerusalem wall a priority because he wants the people to have a clear understanding of their identity. By giving us boundaries God preserves us as His people from those who would tear us down.
Part 10 - Temple and City Hand In Hand
In the process of rebuilding the wall Nehemiah also makes sure the city of Jerusalem is repopulated. God is not going to have in impact in this world unless we keep making the connection between the temple and the city. We cannot just be Sunday morning Christians.
Part 11 - The Danger of Selective Hearing
In the days of Malachi the post exile situation of Judah is that the people were not really listening to God or caring about His Word. God is the God of grace but God is not the God of cheap grace – so He responds to those who take Him for granted.
Part 12 - Coming Full Circle Again
Malachi ends on a sombre note. In the life of the people of Judah, everything has come full circle all over again. However there is the promise of the messenger, and a message, which will bring a circuit breaker to the cycle of sin.